By Rahil Nora Chopra
The G-23 group of leaders, who have been demanding reforms within the Congress party and reiterating their calls for change, have once again raised their reservations following the crisis in the party in Punjab as well as the exit of a senior leader from its Goa unit. Ghulam Nabi Azad has written to interim president Sonia Gandhi seeking a Congress Working Committee (CWC) meeting to discuss the Punjab and Goa situation as well as the mass exodus from the organization. Some of the G-23 leaders had met at Azad’s house, where it was decided that he should write to Sonia Gandhi expressing their major concerns. Another senior member of G-23, Kapil Sibal, demanded “open dialogue” and introspection, questioning the lack of clarity in the decision-making process. Senior party leader Kapil Sibal said: “In our party, at the moment, there is no president, so we don’t know who is taking these decisions. We know and yet we don’t know.” Both Azad and Sibal again demanded elections for the post of the party president and a meeting of the Congress Working Committee (CWC). Without mentioning the Gandhis, Sibal talked about the defections of Luizinho Faleiro in Goa, Sushmita Dev in Assam, Jyotiradtiya Scindia in Madhya Pradesh and LaliteshTripathi in Uttar Pradesh, among others, and said: “It’s ironic that those who were their khasam-khaas (special ones), they left them. And those people who they believed are not their special ones, they are standing with them today.” He added, “One thing is clear, we are not ‘Ji Huzoor 23’… We will put forward our points, and will continue to do so. And we will repeat our demands.” Earlier, another G-23 leader, Manish Tewari, had taken a dig at the induction into the Congress of former JNU student leader, Kanhaiya Kumar.
PRIYANKA TO LAUNCH UP 2022 CAMPAIGN WITH OCTOBER 9 RALLY
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra is likely to launch the party’s poll election campaign for the 2022 Uttar Pradesh Assembly elections from Varanasi with a grand rally on October 9.Varanasi is the Lok Sabha constituency of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Earlier, the party had announced to hold a 12,000-km ‘Pratigya Yatra’ crisscrossing the state, and a series of rallies beginning from Meerut in west UP. Priyanka arrived in Lucknow on September 27 on a five-day visit to discuss with workers and leaders the party’s preparedness for next year’s Assembly elections in the state. Her visit to the state came just a day after Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath expanded his council of ministers by inducting Jitin Prasad and six others. During the visit, she envisaged setting up war-rooms right up to district level, aimed at receiving feedback from the ground and taking prompt decisions on emergent issues as part of the 2022 UP assembly polls strategy.
RAHUL GANDHI HANDPICKED JIGNESH, KANHAIYA FOR CONGRESS REVIVAL
The induction of Jignesh Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar into the Congress is said to be handpicked by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. Kanhaiya’s entry into the Congress has created a state of perplexity with many, wondering if a leftward shift will do any good to the party. Meanwhile, Gujarat MLA Jignesh Mevani, who was also supposed to join the Congress, but couldn’t “due to technical reasons”, extended his support to the party. “I could not join the Congress formally due to technical reasons. I am an independent MLA, if I join a party, I may not continue as an MLA…I am part of the Congress ideologically but I will fight the upcoming Gujarat polls from Congress symbol,” the Dalit leader from Gujarat said. The two new entrants are known for their oratorical and communicative skills and are fearless opponents of the Modi government. This appeals to the Nehru-Gandhi scion, especially since the Congress desperately needs powerful youth Hindi-speaking orators who can be deployed during the upcoming Assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Punjab, Gujarat and Goa in 2022. The Congress hopes Mevani can emerge as a strong Dalit leader and can prove handy in reaching out to the Scheduled Castes across the country and not just in his home state Gujarat. Similarly, the Congress is banking on Kanhaiya Kumar to energise its dispirited cadre in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. Both Mevani and Kanhaiya Kumar have a challenging task ahead. They have an opportunity to make a mark in this new innings of their career. The two may yet defy all odds and acquire a pan-India following among the Dalits, the poor, landless labourers and the youth. Alternatively, they may become another face in the crowd.
RJD, CONGRESS FLAY CM NITISH’S FAILURE TO GET BIHAR SPECIAL STATUS
Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar had publicly demanded that the Centre should commence a caste-based census as well as the formation of an NDA coordination committee to resolve contentious issues among alliance partners. However, he soon clarified that his party had not dropped the demand of special category status to Bihar, though it was up to the Centre to take a decision on it. Earlier, a senior Cabinet colleague, Bijendra Prasad Yadav, had said that the Nitish government was tired of demanding special category status for Bihar and was no longer interested in pursuing the demand, but would now instead seek a special package for the state. Bihar opposition, including Rashtriya Janata Dal and Congress leaders, took on the ruling JD(U) for failing to get special category status for Bihar despite being in alliance with the BJP for so long both at the Centre and in the state.
PINARAYI GETS SUPPORT FROM AN UNLIKELY QUARTER
The Communist Party of India (Marxist) Kerala state committee has finally asserted its right to have more say in governing the Left-ruled state. While CM Pinarayi Vijayan had a free hand over matters in the first term, the second term has already raked up a chain of controversies. Pinarayi Vijayan received a rare appreciation from a senior Congress leader. The LokSabha MP K Muraleedharan made a likewise comparison between the chief minister with his father K Karunakaran in terms of the ways both achieved success and their cordial relation with all sections of society and how they took all of them along. “After Karunakaran, it’s Pinarayi who has mastered the art of balancing the interests of various communities,” the Vadakara MP said. According to Muraleedharan the only difference is that while his father dealt with the communities directly, Vijayan deploys dedicated teams for the job. (IPA)